Fabulous Fall Color: The Best Plants for the Pacific Northwest

These eye-catching plants bring fall color and drama to Northwest gardens.

A well-planted garden holds our interest in all seasons. Here are six choices for fabulous fall and winter ornament.

Acer circinatum 'Pacific Fire': Our native vine maple heats up with red bark and large full-moon-style leaves. Plant this shrubby selection (about 6 feet tall and wide) in morning sun with afternoon shade. Zones 6-9

Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance': Serviceberry gets full marks for spring flowers, summer fruit, and fall color. The foliage of 'Autumn Brilliance' begins yellow and changes to shades of deep orange and red. Plant this small tree (up to 25 feet tall and wide) in full sun. Zones 5-8

Anemanthele lessoniana: Pheasantgrass takes on tones of red, orange, and bronze in winter and provides movement. Cut to the ground every couple of years for a fresh flush of foliage. Zones 8-10

Azara microphylla: This evergreen Chilean species, when planted in a group, grows into a scrim instead of a solid screen wall. Tiny, white, fragrant flowers open in late winter. Zones 8-10

Cyclamen hederifolium and C. coum: Hardy cyclamen, above, looks like a miniature version of a florist's potted cyclamen. Dormant in summer, pewter-pattern leaves emerge in August. In September, C. hederifolium blooms in shades of pink; C. coum waits until December to January. Plant a carpet of both under deciduous shrubs. Zones 5-9

Mahonia 'Lionel Fortescue': Asian mahonias, including 'Lionel Fortescue', bloom in fall and winter, and their flowers are a nectar source for overwintering hummingbirds. Spiny leaves on the tall, architectural shrubs set off 16-inch-long spikes of bright yellow blooms. Plant in full sun and near a window so you can enjoy the show. Zones 8-9


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